Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire

The Memoir of Florence Garstang (1870-1941): Honour, Injustice, and Gendered Sacrifice in an Upwardly Mobile Blackburn Family

Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire (2021), 170, (1), 93–113.

Abstract

This article introduces the previously unexamined Blackburn memoir of Florence Garstang (1870-1941). It contributes to women’s history by providing her response to injustices in the Blackburn cotton riots and to a gendered injustice that marked her own life. It reveals a creative, precariously upwardly-mobile Blackburn family, whose sons had unusually successful careers, whilst Florence became women’s editor on the Blackburn Standard. It shows her close relationship with her father, Dr Walter Garstang (1832-1899), rooted in values of self- and mutual improvement, continual learning, pride in local traditions and pleasure in books and the local newspaper culture. The article builds on Andrew Hobbs’ work by providing a previously unknown case study of a female participant in Blackburn newspaper culture. Dr Garstang’s work as a Blackburn Poor Law medical officer and in private practice is discussed as the context in which he asked Florence to sacrifice her Oxford dream.

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Author details

Bayer, Penny